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Dad is My Greatest Teacher

Dad is My Greatest Teacher
    photo by skpy http://www.flickr.com/photos/skippy/

    There are a lot of young guys around the world that don’t get a chance to grow up with a father. And because of that, may lack the knowledge of what “being a man” is. At the same time, there are young men growing up that have a father at their disposal and still don’t get valuable life lessons. It’s a shame.

    Shock

    My father died when I was 18 years old during my senior year at high school. He had a blood clot pass in his lung. I remember the day vividly, being woken up at a friend’s house the night after my band played in some far off place. It was a beautiful, sunny, Sunday morning and I remember seeing my family members’ faces as I walked into the hospital. No one really said anything to me but I could hear from their expressions,

    “Everything will be OK, bud.”

    What happened next is a blur still to this day. I had to deal with the public viewing of my dead father, helping bury him at the funeral, a 21 gun salute, “becoming the man of the house” (or so all my relatives said), and appeasing my weakened mom in the process.

    Lost

    What happened in the next 3 years was something that I choose to describe as being lost. I entered a phase in my life where I was in a semi-touring, semi-serious band and had a terrible outlook on life. I had a problem with everything; from society to myself. I didn’t have any real friends or relationships and just “faked” my way through. I made a ton of terrible decisions, worked a crappy job and was looked down upon by my most of my family because of those terrible decisions.

    It was only until I decided to make a drastic change in my life that I could make up for this lost time. Some people go 20 or 30 years without having a bottom in their lives and one day look back and see the wreckage of their past. Luckily, my bottom was at 21. I’ve come to accept this and liken it to what Robert Frost wrote,

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    “… the best way out is always through.”

    He did his best

      photo by roy_ http://www.flickr.com/photos/roy_/

      After my period of being lost, I got very angry at my father for not being what I thought that he should have been in my life. Why did he never teach me to build a fire? Go camping? Teach me other “manly” stuff that every father teaches their son, right?

      It took me a while to make my way through the five stages of grief. I was at the anger stage.

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      After talking to someone that had some more experience with death, life, and resentments I came to realize this: my father did the best he could with the tools that he had to work with. My dad never laid a hand on me or my mom, was at all of my opening nights at the theater when I was young and in plays, took me fishing (when I wasn’t being stubborn and wanted to go), wanted the absolute best for me and my mom, and later in life, indirectly taught me what it is to be a man.

      And for that, I can overlook the not teaching me “how to build a fire thing”.

      Learning from mistakes

      So, what does this have to do with Father’s Day? Other than this post being something that I needed to write, accepting my father for who he was has enabled me to become the man that I truly want to be because of my learning from his mistakes.

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      Would you touch a hot stove right now? I have a feeling that if you have touched a hot stove in the past and remember the pain of being burnt, you won’t do it. It’s the same idea of learning how to be a man from my father.

      If the old man before me did things that were right, then hopefully I pick up those traits. And if he did things that were wrong, I sure as hell need to learn not to do those things. Learning from my dad’s mistakes has helped me develop my own, upgraded “set of tools” that I can use to do my best in life.

      Teach me

      My dad was one of the greatest teachers I have ever met and he didn’t even try to be or know that he was. There are so many things that I have accomplished since his death that I wish I could share with him. That is the one thing that still chokes me up to this day. But, allowing to let my father live through me, I know that he is with me every step of the way; even when I’m stubborn and don’t want to go fishing.

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      So, on this Father’s Day, make sure that you understand that your dad does the best he can with the tools that he has. It’s not a father’s job to teach you how to build a fire. It’s your job to learn from him, develop your life’s tools to do your best, and live the life that you want to live.

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      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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